Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

Every description you read of the Galápagos Islands contains superlatives: most amazing, cannot be found anywhere else in the world, the capital of paradise, and so forth. You will find them all to be true if you embark on this T2T-I trip. Moreover, when you return home and try to describe your experience, you will realize that the superlatives don’t even come close to matching reality!

This is a place that resides beyond words, not only for its unique biodiversity, but also for its people. Yes, there are people living in this archipelago! Join us and have the pleasure of meeting them. For this trip, we are partnering with the Galápagos Conservancy, the only U.S. organization focused exclusively on protecting the unique ecosystems and biological integrity of the Galápagos archipelago. We will be working in schools in the town of Puerto Ayora on the island of Santa Cruz, the second largest of the Galápagos Islands and its primary tourism hub.

Participants will encounter all kinds of magnificent creatures such as giant tortoises, marine iguanas, and Charles Darwin’s famous finches. They are an inescapable part of everyday life in this magical location.

Trip Itinerary

aerial view of quito

Saturday, July 1 — Quito

After arranging your own air travel (let us know if you need assistance), you will arrive in Quito, Ecuador, today. An affiliated driver carrying a T2T-I sign will meet you at the airport and escort you to the team’s lodgings. You and the rest of your team members will spend the night in Quito at the Best Western Premier CPlaza Hotel.

Sunday, July 2 — Quito

The magnificent city of Quito awaits you! Today the group will tour the historic area, which has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site for its well preserved colonial architecture. You will even see a church known locally as la Compagñía whose stunning interior is covered in gold leaf.

Your sightseeing will culminate in an early dinner on a terrace overlooking the city. As the sunlight fades and the city lights twinkle, you’ll wish you never had to leave!

Galap from airplane

Monday, July 3 — Transit to Galápagos Islands

You will begin the day with a delicious breakfast at the hotel, and then you and the team will travel by air to the Galápagos Islands. Landing at the Baltra airport on Santa Cruz, you will spend the rest of the day touring Puerto Ayora, the most populous town and home to the Charles Darwin Research Station.

Note: Smoking is prohibited on the Galápagos Islands.

Tuesday, July 4 — Galápagos Islands

This morning you will meet your local partner teacher at the Tomás de Berlanga school and begin building your relationship with both one-on-one and group activities. Remember to wear comfortable, thick-soled shoes for the lava rock trails at the school. Classroom sessions will provide the opportunity for you to collect observations. The afternoon will consist of workshops delivered by team members.

Meals for the next week will showcase fresh, abundant seafood. Not to be missed are the shrimp, lobster, and ceviche; however, if your tastes gravitate towards burgers and pizza, that will be available as well.

Wednesday, July 5 — Galápagos Islands

During the morning, you and your partner may co-teach a lesson. You will find this endeavor to be anything but one-sided, as most T2T-I trip participants realize they have as much wisdom to receive as they have to give. Individual meetings and a group professional development session will occupy the early afternoon.

To relax after your work in the school, you will have the opportunity to experience Calle de los kioscos, a famous open-air collection of mom-and-pop seafood eateries. The street closes to traffic at dinnertime, allowing hungry diners to wander among the tables and chairs in search of the freshest langostinas (lobster), bruja (red scorpionfish), or whatever else looks too good to pass by.

Galap dudes

Thursday, July 6 — Galápagos Islands

During the morning, you and your partner teacher may choose to try out a new activity. Your one-on-one meeting will focus on how she and her students experienced it and what elements should be integrated into the classroom. Another team member’s workshop will follow.

For your afternoon’s recreation you will enjoy one of Galápagos’s most unique locations: Las Grietas. Translated as crack, this lengthy crevasse allows ocean water to flow inland where it mixes with an underground river to form a series of crystal clear, cool ponds. You’ll take a 30-minute hike to this one-of-a-kind swimming hole.

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Friday, July 7 — Galápagos Islands

This day’s content is flexible, because each participant-partner pairing will have developed customized goals by now. The local teacher may lead the class with you providing gentle guidance.

You will be available to answer any questions and to celebrate the success of previous days.

Galap iguana

Saturday, July 8 — Galápagos Islands

Today will begin your free weekend to enjoy some of the varied recreational activities that the Galápagos offer. You will choose between two excursions: a day cruise (there is a surcharge for the cruise) or a visit to Tortuga Bay where you can snorkel with (small!) sharks and sea turtles. Bring your camera, sunscreen, and sense of adventure!

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Sunday, July 9 — Galápagos Islands
After a relaxing morning at the guesthouse, you and the team will embark on a visit to Santa Cruz’s other renowned sights. The older male giant tortoises of this island migrate to the highlands in June and July when the rainy season ends. You will visit a tortoise reserve that provides a home for these ambitious reptiles among a guava orchard. Also in the highlands are lava tunnels, enormous empty tubes that once held molten rock. Walking into one of these is like journeying to the center of the earth! The final stop on this excursion is Los Gemelos, twin volcanic craters covered by Scalesia trees, which are known as the Darwin’s finches of the plant world.

Galap beansMonday, July 10 — Galápagos Islands

Your collaboration with your partner will continue today, building on prior classroom experiences. Perhaps by now the students will even feel equipped to lead a lesson. They might write stories or present projects.

Whatever you decide to do today, you will be gratified to see what a difference you’re able to make.

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Tuesday, July 11 — Galápagos Islands

You will have very brief individual meetings to wrap up the week and plan for maintaining contact in the future. The afternoon will be reserved for the graduation ceremony. The entire group will share stories of the week, and the local teachers will receive a certificate of completion.

galapmotoWednesday, July 12 — Galápagos Islands

Departures, with transportation to the Baltra airport arranged by T2T-I. You will either return to the U.S., travel back to Quito, or leave for T2T-I’s teacher trip to Santo Domingo.

Accommodations

Torre Mar vacation rentals include five ocean-view apartments, plus a large, outdoor, rooftop terrace for team meetings. It is centrally located within a short walk to the harbor and several restaurants and cafés.

You will share your apartment with up to two other people. Each one has air conditioning, two bedrooms (one with a king-sized bed, one with double beds), a bathroom with a shower, a sitting room, and a kitchen. Wifi is available but inconsistent and slow.

You will begin each morning on the terrace with a healthy breakfast of fruit, yogurt, granola, juice, and freshly baked pastries.

view of harbor with Torre Mar in background
The pink Torre Mar apartment rentals loom over the Puerto Ayora harbor
Torre Mar apartment building in Puerto Ayora
Torre Mar vacation rentals in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island, Galápagos
T2T-I math team meeting on rooftop terrace
The T2T-I team meets on the Torre Mar rooftop terrace in April 2016

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